Your 2016 Junior Champions Luis Diaz and Caroline Marks. Photo: WSL / Van Kirk
Jul 30, 2016

Luis Diaz and Caroline Marks Claim Victory at Vans US Open of Surfing Pro Junior

HUNTINGTON BEACH, California/USA (Saturday, July 30, 2016) –  Luis Diaz (CNY) and Caroline Marks (USA) have won the World Surf League (WSL) Vans US Open of Surfing Pro Junior in two-to-four foot (0.5 - 1.5 meter) conditions at the Huntington Beach Pier. In addition to the action that went down today, tomorrow will see world class performances with the WSL Samsung Galaxy Championship Tour women’s Quarterfinals and the WSL Qualifying Series (QS) 10,000 men’s Quarterfinals as both events are set for an exciting finish.

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Hailing from the Canary Islands, Diaz captured the 2016 Men’s Junior Title from the North American competitors with a brilliant performance over the talented field. Taking on Yuji Mori (JPN), Jake Marshall (USA), and Nolan Rapoza (USA), the 17-year-old could not believe he earned the win when coming out of the water. Though he will not earn points from this win because the event is out of his European region, it was a momentous milestone in his career.

Luis Diaz shredding his way to the top spot. Photo: WSL / Morris

“I’m so stoked, I really can’t even believe I won,” Diaz said. “Everyone has been shredding this whole competition and I just had to find the two waves that would allow me to surf to my best ability. I knew that 8.00 was going to be a good score even though it wasn’t the best wave. I felt that I surfed it really well and I was so excited to get rewarded for it. Each heat I was gaining confidence, and to come out on top, there’s just no better feeling.”

Defending champion Caroline Marks (USA) retained her Vans US Open of Surfing Women’s Junior Title in terrific fashion. Marks is the first to ever win back-to-back Junior Titles at this prestigious event. Getting off to a slow start, Marks made up for it with a massive finish and posted a solid 6.50 (out of a possible 10) and an excellent 7.50 on her final two rides.

“I’m speechless right now, I thought about what it’d be like to win this thing twice and it’s just an amazing feeling,” Marks said. “These girls are so good and I can’t thank my parents and family enough for all their support. All my friends, and people shouting from the beach and the pier was so surreal. This is only the second event I’ve done this year so I’m hoping to get another big result at the next one and try to make it into the World Junior Championships.”

Full house in Huntington Beach today. Photo: WSL / Rowland

Vans US Open of Surfing Men’s Junior Final Results:
1 - Luis Diaz (CNY) 14.90          $2,000  1,000 points
2 - Jake Marshall (USA) 14.63   $900     750 points
3 - Yuji Mori (JPN) 13.57            $600     560 points
4 - Nolan Rapoza (USA) 11.64   $500     525 points

Vans US Open of Surfing Men Junior Semifinal Results: 
Heat 1:
 Nolan Rapoza (USA) 13.27, Yuji Mori (JPN) 8.87, Kei Kobayashi (USA) 6.73, Ethan Ewing (AUS) 5.67
Heat 2: Luis Diaz (CNY) 15.66, Jake Marshall (USA) 11.47, Rylan Rubens (USA) 11.37, Christopher Kervin (USA) 4.37

North America Junior Men Tour Top 5 Rankings (After Vans US Open of Surfing):
 Kei Kobayashi - 1,840
2. Nolan Rapoza - 1,575
3. Griffin Colapinto - 1,280
4. Cole Houshmand - 1,235
5. Chauncey Robinson - 1,235

Vans US Open of Surfing Women’s Junior Final Results:
1 -
 Caroline Marks (USA) 14.00    $2,000  1,000 points
2 - Alyssa Spencer (USA) 12.10   $900     750 points
3 - Brisa Hennessy (HAW) 9.14    $600     560 points
4 - Bethany Zelasko (USA) 8.03    $500     525 points

Vans US Open of Surfing Women Junior Semifinal Results:
Heat 1: 
Caroline Marks (USA) 14.17, Alyssa Spencer (USA) 11.70, Leilani McGonagle (CRI) 10.13, Macy Callaghan (AUS) 7.47
Heat 2: Brisa Hennessy (HAW) 13.17, Bethany Zelasko (USA) 10.87, Kirra Pinkerton (USA) 8.56, Maddie Peterson (USA) 5.74

North America Junior Women Top 5 Rankings (After Vans US Open of Surfing):
Alyssa Spencer - 2,030
2. Leilani McGonagle - 1,470
3. Maddie Peterson - 1,340
4. Meah Collins - 1,245
5. Caroline Marks - 1,200